By Per Peterson
The Barnes PRCA Rodeo at the Lyon County Fair, will have some new attractions this year. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the growing popularity of the rodeo.
The Barnes PRCA Rodeo will be at 7 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday. Rodeo events include saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, bareback riding, bull riding, steer wrestling, team roping and barrel racing. There will also be a boot scramble event for the kids. This year’s rodeo will include 72 barrel racers (12 contestants will ride in each event each night, and the rest will run after the rodeo ends Thursday) and 24 bull riders each night.
“We have more contestants than we had last year,” said Jeremy Trulock, Lyon County Fair Rodeo Committee chair. “We’ve got the reputation, we’ve got nice payback. A lot of times it’s a Thursday night and they can be on their way to another rodeo Friday night and then go to another one Saturday night. We like to think that they like our arena. We put a lot of pride in that and getting it worked up right.
One thing missing from this year’s rodeo will be mutton busting. Trulock said it will be replaced by the boot scramble, which is designed to get more kids taking part at one time, as opposed to sitting around and waiting for their turn.
There will be two age groups in the event. Contestants start at one end of the arena, run to the other end, take a boot off and run back to the other end, during which time the rodeo clown will mix up all the boots, so when the kids return they have to find theirs, put it on and run back. The winners — two each night — will receive a voucher for a free pair of cowboy boots from Runnings.
“A lot of people were disappointed we weren’t having (mutton busting), but it’s time we tried something different,” said Trulock. “We want to get more kids involved. Mutton busting is really neat but it’s time consuming, we’ve gotta find sheep for the kids to ride. The biggest thing is we’re trying to get more kids involved — run off some energy halfway through the rodeo, get dirty … “
This year’s rodeo clown is Trent McFarland, who Trulock calls a top-notch rodeo clown. He has more than 21 years of experience entertaining crowds with wit, energy and crowd interaction. Other rodeo dignitaries who will be in Marshall for the rodeo are PRCA Rodeo announcer and Missouri cowboy Kelly Kenney, always a fan-favorite, Trulock said, and trick rider Dusta Lee Kimzey, who will actually be bringing her dare-devil stunts back to Marshall, as she has performed at the fair rodeo in the past. Kimzey is the sixth generation of her family farm in Oklahoma and competes as a barrel racer as well.
“She stands in the saddle, hangs upside down in the saddle,” Trulock said. “She has a miniature trick pony named Lickety Split, and he does a lot of neat things.
The first 100 kids in attendance Thursday will receive a free cowboy hat at the gate. Friday is “Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night.” For every person in attendance who is wearing pink, $1 will be donated to the American Cancer Society’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign. Decals, bandanas, caps and T-shirts will be available for purchase on Thursday and Friday nights.
Trulock said there will also be a live auction Friday after barrel racing, in which two ticket packages for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas will be awarded. A $125 travel voucher is included in the prize package. Barrels & Arrows has also donated a rifle that will be auctioned off, as will a “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” Montana Silver Smiths belt buckle.
“We’ve done this in the past and it’s been an outstanding fundraiser (for the Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign),” Trulock said.
Also on Friday night, a “bounty bull” event will take place. One cowboy will be randomly chosen to ride a random bull, and if the cowboy rides the bull, he will receive $500 cash, courtesy of Hefty Seed Company.
Rodeo committee members will also be busy Thursday and Friday, selling raffle tickets for a $1,000 gift certificate to Barrels & Arrows; the drawing will be Friday night after the auction.